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Objectives

The objectives of the Obelisk Spinney Pocket Park Community Interest Company are:

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To protect and maintain the natural habitat of wildlife within the Spinney and retain the character of the wood whilst encouraging appropriate use of the area.

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To provide safe and easy access to the Spinney for all in the community, where this is possible.

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To encourage community spirit and a sense of pride in the local environment by local residents.

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To support and encourage local schools and youth groups who have shown an interest in using the area for nature and wildlife projects, history projects and field trips.

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To support and encourage parents by providing an opportunity for them to teach their children about environmental awareness, local history and their responsibility for the world around them.

Conservation

We will preserve and maintain the Spinney as a conservation area in the heart of the community.  The natural habitat and eco-systems will be protected and action taken for the long-term protection for wildlife on the advice given from expert organisations. 

Care of fallen or falling trees will be managed appropriately with removal where appropriate or leaving standing deadwood if deemed safe to allow new habitats to develop naturally.  Log piles will be left to provide natural support for developing habitat. Invasive shrubs will be removed to allow light to ground flora whilst managing undergrowth to allow access without causing damage to the habitat of wildlife.

The natural habitat of animals and birds can be enhanced with bird and bat boxes and we hope the Wildlife Trust will help us with this.  Wild flowers can be introduced and encouraged, involving local children and school and youth groups.

Local awareness of the environment and the natural world will be enhanced.  The help and advice of expert organisations gained through Pocket Park status will be sought and followed to ensure our aim of conserving the area remains intact.

Recreation

  We wish to make the Spinney accessible to all in our community in order for them to enjoy it safely and responsibly.

  We aim to make the Spinney accessible to those who might not have ventured there before and to provide a facility for local people to come into contact with the natural world around them within their own community. 

  Improvements to access and the management of pathways will enable more people to be able to access the Spinney and offer them an opportunity to experience the diversity of nature in their locality.

  Community involvement

This is an opportunity for local people to come together and join in a project that is both rewarding, physical beneficial and sociable, and to increase their sense of pride in their environment.  The project will help to dissuade anti-social behaviour such as the starting of fires and fly-tipping that are both unsightly, dangerous and damaging to wildlife. 

Signage at the entrance of the Spinney will inform visitors that the area is cared for, shared and maintained by the community.  With the help of supporting organisations (via the Pocket Park scheme) we will improve access and pathways through the Spinney and for this the help of local people will be needed.  In turn, they will then benefit from improved access so that they can use the Spinney themselves

Action plan

In response to the advice of the Wildlife Trust and other expert bodies, the following represents the Action Plan for the Obelisk Spinney CIC:

In the Mature Woodland area:

bulletDamaged and dead trees will be recorded and a record kept of their condition to note changes or need for action.  Ivy will be removed from trunks to prevent damage.
bulletThe canopy will be opened up a little to encourage richer, more diverse field-layer.  Some standard trees will be felled, mainly species that would not be usually associated with this woodland community in Northamptonshire (sycamore, beech, horse-chestnut). However, big, old mature trees of whatever species will be left.
bulletRemoval of some horse-chestnut, elderberry and sycamore seedlings will be carried out when required to prevent overcrowding.
bulletStanding and fallen dead wood will be left in the woods to provide habitats for invertebrates, except where these pose a potential hazard.
bulletWe will make efforts to reduce levels of dog faeces and other litter in the wood.  Better positioning of dog bins will also be addressed.
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In the Recently Established Ash Woodland area:

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 The canopy will be opened up a little here too, to allow a richer field-layer to develop in part but still maintain dense growth, bearing in mind that the current inaccessibility may be of value to wildlife. Some coppicing may be carried out to achieve this.

In the Dense Blackthorn area:

bulletCoppicing of shrubs on the edge of this habitat will assist in maintaining a dense thicket; a few bushes a year on a 6 yearly rotation has been recommended.
bulletTo prevent encroachment onto the grassland suckers, and saplings will be cut back.

 In the Grassland area

An annual late summer cut with removal of cuttings has been recommended. This will help reduce the nutrient levels of this habitat thereby reducing the vigorous growth of competitive species and giving less competitive plant species an opportunity to become established.

Pathways

The pathways through the Spinney will be more clearly marked and defined, and the surfaces improved.  Advice will be taken from the recognised authorities as to what can be laid along the pathways to enable easier access for the less sure-footed, those in wheelchairs, or with prams or pushchairs.  Shrubs will be cut back to ensure people can walk through and fallen or damaged trees will be moved back to enable people to pass safely.  Consideration will be to ensure that no damage is done to wildlife by doing this.

Signage 

Signage in the form of nature and history information boards for interest and educational purposes will be installed.   “Pocket Park” signs that promote the role of the community in the management of the Spinney will also be erected.

Educational Tools 

The CIC will work closely with local schools and youth groups to supply them with access and historical, natural and conservation information about the Spinney.  They will also be encouraged to become involved in the  practical work needed to manage the Spinney for all the community.  This will help local people to better understand the natural world and how it works and to promote future care and preservation.

Bird, Bat and Mouse

Through the schools and youth groups, we will be encouraging young people to take an active role in thinking about habitat for animals and studying the eco-system.  This can be achieved by the making, installing and observing of bird, bat and mouse boxes.

Wild Flower Planting

Children and young people will also be encouraged to plant, nurture and study wild flowers in a natural environment.